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There are many kinds of vegetarians and many different reasons people choose this lifestyle. Maybe you want to lessen animal abuses that come with eating products created from animals. Perhaps you have health reasons to think of. Whatever you decide, you might want not to be too careful about the kinds of food you allow yourself to eat. In particular, Lacto-Ovo vegetarians have foods like eggs that they can eat, showing some variation from other vegetarians and vegans.

All the do’s and don’ts can get confusing. You could end up eating food that is made of animals unknowingly. Continue reading to find out some surprising foods that veteran Lacto-Ovo vegetarians would not eat.

What is a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian?

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians are a type of vegetarian that can’t eat poultry, fish, and meat. They are unique from other vegetarians because they can eat dairy, hence the “lacto” in the name. They can also eat eggs, where the “ovo” comes from. If you are a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian the following are some foods that you might have never guessed have meat or other animal parts.

vegetarian meal

[Also read The Vegan Lowdown on Vitamin A: Myths and Food Sources]


What’s in Gelatin: cow or pigskin, ligaments, bones, or tendons

Fruit gelatin looks so smooth and bouncy, an innocent dessert enjoyed by many children and adults too. However, if you are not careful you might end up eating the kind that is made from animal parts: a no-no for vegetarians looking out for the rights of animals. The thing is, gelatin is not only edible, it is sometimes an ingredient in face masks, shampoos, and other cosmetic products. This thickener is often added to puddings like Jell-O and various sweets such as candies, cakes, marshmallows, yogurts, and ice cream. It can also be part of some supplements that are held together in gelatin.

This is something to look out for especially for Lacto-Ovo vegetarians who are meticulous about excluding animal body parts at all costs. While the word “lacto” might mean you can eat dairy products like ice cream and yogurt— some of these could be up to review if they contain gelatin. Does this mean goodbye to your beloved gummy bears and worms? You decide.

On the flipside a product called “agar-agar” that is sometimes referred to as gelatin comes from a type of seaweed— this one is in the clear and even vegan.

Worcestershire Sauce

What’s in Worcestershire Sauce: anchovies or fish sauce

Because it is just another addition to your condiments, you might not be too scrutinizing towards the ingredients label when you pick up a bottle of Worcestershire sauce. It has always been a part of your table even when you jumped to the vegetarian side of the fence. Surprisingly, to some, this dip actually contains anchovies, which are a kind of fish. The fins might not be included but you might as well double-check the ingredient list at the back to make sure.

Refried Beans

What’s in Refried Beans: animal lard

Sometimes you might be in a hurry and just want a vegetarian meal straight off with some takeaway. You can ask the service staff if you are skeptical— the majority of the versions of refried beans from fast food restaurants are made from lard. What is lard? A fat product derived from the fatty tissue of a pig. It always pays to clarify.

bread with filling

[Also read Are There Levels of Veganism?]

Parmesan Cheese

What’s in Parmesan Cheese: parts from a goat or calf stomach

You’re a cheese lover so Lacto-Ovo vegetarianism is the right track for you. You can dive into all the dairy products you might. In truth, this might not mean all cheeses are for you. While oftentimes these are made of animal byproducts such as milk and egg, there’s an element to it that might scratch your head. Parmesan and some cheeses are actually made from an enzyme taken from the stomach of a goat or calf. Other cheeses include manchego, Pecorino Romano, and more.


What’s in Twinkies: beef fat

Lots of people love twinkies because they have a long shelf life and are incredibly convenient. It’s a snack classic— one made of beef fat. It says so straight up on the ingredients label and is not considered to be vegetarian.

For vegetarians into the lifestyle, twinkies have already been a dead giveaway as unhealthy food. With each serving containing 9 grams of fat and 33 grams, this might be on the list of food to avoid.

Final Thoughts

Lacto-Ovo vegetarians would not eat many of the items on this list. While the enumeration of food to avoid goes on and on for newbies, even if you are on the more experienced route, you might want to review your pantry for any of these commonplace foods. Whatever your reason for becoming a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian, knowing about these additions sooner than later can surely save you the heartbreak of knowing you just ate some fish when you poured that Worcestershire Sauce on your plate.

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